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Showing posts from November, 2015

In praise of mahonia

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Mahonia x media 'Charity', which grows in a neighbour's garden here in the Cotswolds
November can often look like the fag-end of the flowering year in the garden, but in a funny kind of way, it’s the beginning of the following spring. Just to make the point, a stalwart winter performer is already providing a warm-up act for next year’s crocuses and daffodils.  Mahonia is native to Asia and America, and closely related to berberis. Its bright yellow flowers start appearing in late October, and continue to provide nectar and pollen for honeybees and other pollinators until March. It is named after the Irish-American horticulturalist Bernard McMahon, who was one of the two nurserymen appointed by Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, to care for the collection of plants brought back by Lewis and Clark from their exploration of western America. I have to confess I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with mahonia. I inherited a massive clump of Mahonia ja…